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Flu cases running rampant in Brevard

Flu cases running rampant in Brevard

The flu is running rampant in Brevard County this season, medical professionals say.

“We’re seeing between 250-300 visits a day across Brevard County in our urgent care centers,” said David T. Williams, the chief medical officer with MedFast Urgent Care Centers. “That’s an uptick in visits by about 35 percent from what we normally see, so we’re seeing anywhere from 15-20 patients every day in each one of our centers with a possible flu complaint.

Barry Inman, epidemiologist with the Brevard County Health Department, said half the samples his office sends to the state lab are testing positive for flu. “We usually will see 10, maybe 20 percent, maybe 30 percent, but 50 percent is somewhat alarming,” he said. Though the traditional flu season runs from December to March anyway, this season has seen a wider outbreak than usual. This year’s vaccine isn’t matching up with the strains of flu most prevalent. “It’s addressing about 60 percent of the influenza virus strains, but it’s missing about 40 percent of the cases that we’re seeing,” Williams said. Sherri Enders, a nurse practitioner at the MedFast Urgent Care Center in Viera, was one of many who have contracted the flu in Brevard this season. “I haven’t had the flu in 25 years and my immune system is like, incredible, so it’s definitely a very virulent strain,” she said. And the worst may be yet to come. Though there’s no definitive way of knowing, it seems like the flu outbreak is still on the incline. “We’re peaking but we don’t know where the peak is,” Enders said. “

We just don’t know where that is. It’s on the upward swing.” “Predicting the flu is almost like trying to predict the lottery numbers to some extent though we have a science behind that, and it usually works pretty well in those causes,” added Inman. The cooler weather that’s being ushered into the area may only serve to exacerbate the issues. “We’re going to get cool weather coming in here and sometimes that augments the flu because people huddle together, they stay in, that sort of thing,” said Inman. It’s not as though Brevard is alone. According to the latest influenza summary update on the CDC’s website, all but six states are reporting widespread outbreaks as of Dec. 27.